Family Friendly Book Review – The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1)

by John Flanagan

The importance of character and friendship permeate this story by John Flanagan.
The importance of character and friendship permeate this story by John Flanagan.

They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied….

My Review:

I desire to promote Christian based books, but every so often I come across a story that delights and entertains and is “clean.”  There are no ‘faith’ elements in this story and I do not know if John Flanagan, is a Christian or not.  That being said this book is a wonderful, family friendly story about a group of teenage orphans, (who’s father’s died while serving the King), who must select where they will be apprenticed to make a living for themselves.  In particular, this story is about Will and Horace.  Both aspire to become ‘warriors’ or knights for the King.  Horace is a strong, somewhat overbearing lad, while Will is small and naturally stealthy, and has had to out maneuver Horace when bullied.  Horace is chosen for warrior training, but finds that his strength and fortitude is put to the test while training.  Will is given an apprenticeship with the mysterious Ranger, Halt, and begins to see that there are strengths to being slight of build and how to use his mental and physical attributes to clearly access a situation.  Both young men discover that they can be each other’s worst enemy or best ally, and must decide which it will be when they face unexpected challenges.  I call this a “coming of age” story, well paced, with likable and not so likable characters. The story will have you cheering for the ‘good guys’ to win by the end of the story!   The audio version of this story (and series) is excellent.  I can see Disney Studios making this into an epic movie!